Wirecutter’s ‘Best’ Laptop

My longstanding complaint about The Wirecutter is that they institutionally fetishize price over quality. That makes it all the more baffling that their recommended “Best Laptop” — not best Windows laptop, but best laptop, full stop — is a Dell XPS 13 that costs $1,340 but is slower and gets worse battery life (and has a lower-resolution display) than their “best Mac laptop”, the $1,000 M1 MacBook Air.

They do have a “Mac or Windows (or Something Else)?” preface to the whole comparison, but if you’re going to name a “best laptop”, putting aside OS preference, it’s incompetent not to conclude that MacBooks are both technically superior and better values for the dollar thanks to Apple’s exclusive silicon advantage.

The core of my discontent with Wirecutter is that they — like so many people — incorrectly conflate value with price. Value is nuanced and multivariate; price is simply one variable in the value equation. But what makes them look downright silly in this “Best Laptop” comparison is that their first knock against the MacBook Air is that “MacBooks are even more expensive than Windows ultrabooks” — even though their recommended Air configuration is well over $200 less than the Dell XPS they recommend.

Saturday, 23 July 2022